Kona 2017 Recap

It was a hugely successful 2017 Kona Ironman campaign for Swiss Side, culminating with Patrick Lange’s sensational win in a new course record time.

However behind the scenes at Swiss Side, the team was very busy during the Kona week, in their never-ending search for performance. Here is a quick recap of a colourful week on the Big Island of Hawaii. 



The title says it all. Patrick Lange triumphed in the most challenging race of his life. It is never an easy race in Kona and this year was no different. After the swim in good conditions, the pace on the bike was absolutely blistering as the front-runners including Lionel Sanders played a game of surging pace in a bid to break up the field and open up a gap. As always, the wind picked up at the Hawi turn-around mid-way point and added an additional challenge for the athletes. Despite the challenges, Patrick kept it cool in the heat of the lava fields, maintaining focus on his race of efficiency. After the transition to the run, despite feeling anything but fresh, Patrick was able to put the hammer down and pick the athletes off one by one, passing Sanders only a few kilometers from the finish, to cross the line in a new course record time of 08h:01m:40s.

The Swiss Side team is so proud to have done our small part to contribute to this incredible win with our HADRON Ultimate aero wheels and our aero support in the wind tunnel this year. Well done Patrick!

After Patrick's strong performance, co-sponsored DT Swiss Aerodynamics by Swiss Side athlete Daniela Ryf dominated and won once again the pro women race. Congratulations Daniela for your third Ironman World Champion title in a row!

 Start of the Ironman World Championship at 6:30am sharp. Photo: Ingo Kutsche 

Patrick Lange on the bike, giving everything and more. Photo: Ingo Kutsche 

 Patrick Lange crossing the finish line with a new course record. Photo: Ingo Kutsche 

Daniela Ryf DT Swiss Aerodynamics by Swiss Side athlete winning her third Ironman World Champion title in a row. Photo: Ingo Kutsche



In Kona 2017, Swiss Side showed it’s new AeroPod for the first time in public. These new highly advanced aero measurement devices are the latest evolution of Swiss Side’s Instrumented Bike (2015), which was introduced as a rolling aero laboratory for real world aerodynamic measurements out on the road.

The purpose of the AeroPod is simple. A compact device which can be fitted to any bike, for measuring the real world drag (CdA), and aerodynamic stability in real world conditions. The Swiss Side team brought six of their prototype AeroPods to Kona for testing with a range of athletes out on the bike course. Tests were made with a range of pro-athletes including of course Patrick Lange. The Swiss Side Team on the ground in Kona as well as back in Zürich were trading shifts across the different time zones, collecting data and processing it, in order to feed back valuable information on course conditions, and rider setup for optimal performance. The results and capability of the new devices exceeded expectations, showing a fantastic correlation between wind tunnel measurements, simulations and real world performance. The additional advantage of the AeroPod is that it measures real world wind distributions which is fed back into the Swiss Side aerodynamics development process.

The Swiss Side AeroPod.

Patrick Lange’s bike with AeroPod, in high wind setup with HADRON Ultimate 485 wheel set.

The AeroPod explained out on the road by Swiss Side CEO Jean-Paul Ballard. Click here to watch video. 

A particular section of the Kona bike course and below, some of the measurement results from the Swiss Side AeroPod. 


Crosswind distribution measured on the Kona Bike course on a particular ride.


Real world drag (CdA) measurement results. Note the sailing effect (drag reduction) in crosswind.



To support the extensive AeroPod measurements, the Swiss Side crew on the ground in Kona took turns making real world wind measurements at various points along the bike course. The wind on the various days leading up to the race was extremely variable. Early in the week, the winds were very calm however the local fishermen we consulted were spot on with their own forecast that the typical trade winds would arrive on Friday and they were absolutely correct. The trade winds build during the morning and can get extremely strong and gusty in the afternoons. On the Friday before the race, the conditions were extreme all day and required high wind setups (low profile wheels). We measured cross-winds peaking at over 40km/h! On race day however, the wind dropped somewhat, remaining within reasonable limits for the leading riders to run their maximum aero setups (deep section wheels). The slower age group athletes however experienced stronger wind conditions as the day went on, requiring medium strength wind setups (mid-depth section front wheel with max depth rear wheel).

Wind measurements along one stretch of the Queen K highway.

Wind measurement and forecast by Swiss Side CEO and Technical Director Jean-Paul Ballard on the Queen K Highway. Click to watch video. 



As each year in Kona, Swiss Side hosted age groupers on Swiss Side wheels to a welcome drink on the beach. Thanks to the guys and girls for joining us and for trusting Swiss Side for the race of your life!

Some of the Swiss Side Age Group Athletes in Kona.


Posted by Fabienne Dirksen on

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